The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) is the only New Jersey State agency with the sole mission of providing students and families with financial and informational resources for students to pursue their education beyond high school. These include grants, scholarships, loans, loan redemption programs, a college savings plan and comprehensive outreach programs.
Making Education Accessible and Affordable is One of HESAA's Proudest Missions
Still the Nation's premier and most generous need-based program, HESAA's Full-Time Tuition Aid Grant program (TAG), provided 72,540 awards totaling $302,465,270 in FY 2012. HESAA's Part Time Tuition Aid Grant program for County Colleges provided an additional 10,874 awards totaling $8,237,525.
HESAA also supports the infrastructure used by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education to administer the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program providing grants to approximately 13,042 students.
HESAA awarded over 7,600 merit-based scholarships in 2012, helping to keep the State's high achieving students in New Jersey through the Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar Award, Urban Scholar Programs, Governor's Urban Scholars, NJ STARS and NJ STARS II Programs.
COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN
NJBEST provides families the opportunity to start an independent savings account for a child's college fund, and offers a scholarship for eligible savers who attend school in New Jersey. As of the end of FY2012, the NJBEST program had 212,484 accounts with over $3.1 billion of assets under management.
STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS
HESAA's NJCLASS program remained a model for similar State-based supplemental student loan programs and was once again one of the Nation's leading and lowest cost fixed-rate supplemental student loan programs. In Fiscal Year 2012, NJCLASS originated over 18,100 individual loans totaling almost $258 million.
Grants and Scholarships Programs
TUITION AID GRANT (TAG)
Helping students who attend New Jersey institutions, TAG consistently ranks among the five most generous grant programs in the nation, based upon award values.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 72,540 students totaling $302,465,270
PART-TIME TUITION AID GRANT (TAG) FOR COUNTY COLLEGE STUDENTS
Students enrolled for between 6 and 11 credits in a degree or certificate program at any of New Jersey's 19 county colleges may be eligible for these awards.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 10,876 students totaling $8,237,525
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FUND GRANTS (EOF)
This program provides financial assistance and educational support services to low-income New Jersey undergraduate and graduate students.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 13,042 students in totaling slightly over $16,000,000
EDWARD J. BLOUSTEIN DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR AWARD
This four-year renewable scholarship recognizes the exceptional academic performance of New Jersey's high school students. The award is based upon a student's high school class rank and SAT scores. This program is being phased out and was only available to renewal students in FY 2012.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 2,644 students totaling $2,376,916
URBAN SCHOLAR AWARD
Based on class rank and high school GP A, this renewable scholarship is designed to support students from the State's urban and economically distressed areas. This program in its previous incarnation is being phased out and was only available to renewal students in FY 2012. The new Governor's Urban Scholarship is replacing this program.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 1,087 students totaling $934,774
JOHN R. JUSTICE LOAN REDEMPTION GRANT
This second year federal pilot program provides partial loan redemption of student loan debt for eligible prosecutors and public defenders who commit to continued service in their public offices.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 30 recipients totaling over $100,000
STUDENT TUITION ASSISTANCE REWARD SCHOLARSHIP (NJ STARS)
New Jersey students who graduate in the top 15% of their high school class are potentially eligible for this program, which statutorily covers county college tuition and fees for up to 18 credits per semester, for up to 5 semesters. The Fiscal Year 2012 budgetary footnote language limited the award to county college tuition.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 2,072 students totaling $5,283,556
NJ STARS II recipients are NJ STARS eligible students who graduated from a community college with a GP A of 3.25 or higher.
- FY 2012 AWARDS: 1,754 students totaling $4,711,906
GOVERNOR'S URBAN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
A merit based award of up to $1000 annually for students ranked within the top five (5) percent of their high school class and have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the end of their junior year who reside in one of the following high need communities:
- Asbury Park
- City of Camden
- East Orange
- Jersey City
- Lakewood Township
- New Brunswick
- City of Trenton
- CY 2012 AWARDS: 230 students totaling $220,000
Loans & Outreach
FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM (FFELP)
As one of the original guaranty agencies in the Federal Family Education Loan Program, HESAA worked on behalf of the federal government to provide guarantees for federal student loans. Between 2000 and 2010, HESAA paid federal default fees on behalf of FFELP borrowers, saving those students well over $39 million which would have otherwise been charged on student loans.
As of July 1, 2010, the FFELP program was largely abolished, with no new loans originated; however, HESAA continues to earn revenues as guarantor for its very large portfolio of FFELP loans which were made prior to July 1, 2010. The abolition of the FFELP program provided the Authority with a new landscape of opportunities; and in 2011, HESAA began to take advantage of those possibilities. Following HESAA's acceptance by the United States Department of Education as an eligible not-forprofit servicer, the Authority partnered with the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) as a servicer of 100,000 federal Direct Loans. Servicing fees on those loans both offset further reductions in FFELP guarantor revenues and provide additional support for other critical HESAA programs. HESAA continues to evaluate additional opportunities to participate in USDE sponsored programs and looks forward to pursuing those opportunities which align with HESAA's mission while strengthening revenue.
NJ COLLEGE LOANS TO ASSIST STATE STUDENTS (NJCLASS)
HESAA recognizes that many students and families often need help in closing the gap between financial aid and college costs and is proud to assist those families by providing the NJCLASS loan. Available to New Jersey residents as well as out of state students who attend school in New Jersey,
NJCLASS offers one of the most affordable fixed-rate supplemental loans in the entire nation. In 2012 HESAA was once again the Nation's top not-for-profit issuer of supplemental student loans.
The HESAA.org website provides timely, reliable, and valuable information that students, parents and financial aid professionals can access at their convenience. In addition to comprehensive program information and important details and FAQs regarding filing and dates and instructions, HESAA's NJCLASS borrowers can now process loan payments on line.
Information on selecting a school, planning for college, and paying for college can be found at this award-winning website, co-sponsored by HESAA. The site schedules forums to answer questions for students and their families.
HESAA offers a Repayment Education About Loans (R.E.A.L.) Success program that educates students about the importance of repaying their student loans, managing delinquencies and controlling defaults.
The program is comprised of six components and includes Real Money 101 - a curriculum designed to promote awareness about the importance of building sound money and debt management skills - and Cohort e-manager, which allows schools to manage delinquencies and reduce defaults.